She still can not rest in peace.
More than a month after little Julissia Batties was found dead in her mother’s Bronx apartment, her body is still sitting in the city morgue while her parents quarrel over funeral arrangements, The Post has learned.
The abused 7-year-old girl has been the subject of a heated custody battle for almost her entire life, and the fight continues, even after her tragic death — with her mother wanting her cremated and her father hoping she could be buried, according to legal documents.
Mother Navasia Jones, who had custody of Julissia when the girl died, filed a petition Friday to ask a judge to give her control over funeral arrangements and the “disposition” of the girl’s body.
Jones wants to have her daughter cremated so she “always wants something to remember [Julissia] know, ”it says in the case in the Bronx Supreme Court.
But father Julius Batties – whose mother Yolanda Davis tried in vain for years to get custody of her granddaughter – wants Julissia to be buried in the same cemetery in New Jersey as her father.
“I’m ready to put my baby to rest so she can be at peace,” Batties told The Post on Tuesday.
Davis agreed: “I just want to put her to rest.”
“I never knew we were going to fight for her body,” said the despairing grandmother. “I thought we would bury the baby, and that was it.”
Julissia’s lifeless body, with signs of trauma everywhere, was discovered Aug. 10 in Jones’ apartment in NYCHA’s Mitchel Houses. Autopsy results showed the girl died of “blunt force abdominal trauma” and the NYPD has settled the case of a homicide.
Both Julissia’s mother and her 17-year-old half-brother were questioned by detectives, law enforcement sources say. But no one has been arrested while the investigation continues.
There was a known story of violence in the child’s home and an alleged admission by his half-brother that he hit Julissia eight times in the face the day she died — although it was later established that these blows were not what ultimately killed her, sources have said.
The alleged assault happened while their mother was taking a trip to the store at 5 a.m., and hours later, Julissia, who was to begin second grade this month, began vomiting, prompting Jones to call 911. Jones alleged that her daughter had fallen and hit her head on a desk, according to sources. The girl was taken to Lincoln Hospital but could not be rescued.
In the weeks following Julissia’s death, Jones, 35, and Batties, 37, each made arrangements with separate funeral homes for their daughter’s last resting place, according to court documents.
Because of that, the city’s chief medical officer’s office said it could not release Julissia’s body until the parents either came to an agreement or let the court decide. On August 26, the OCME said it had put a “grip” on Julissia’s body until a decision was reached, the application said.
But the parents could not reach an agreement, with Batties saying he “would never accept” having his daughter cremated.
The father said he had already picked out a coffin in one of his little girl’s favorite colors — pink — and provided a horse-drawn carriage at the funeral to make sure she “goes out like a princess.”
“Because she was a princess,” he said.
Julissia’s grandmother, however, wants to bury Julissia in a white dress that the girl had chosen to attend a wedding. She will also put her in a purple headband as that color was also one of her grandchildren’s favorites.
“I’ve never experienced this in my life, and it’s really frustrating, because here she is, a baby, she’s gone, she’s still sitting in a morgue, you know,” Davis said.
“It’s been over a month now. Can we just let her rest? ”
Jones’ attorney did not return requests for comment Tuesday.
A spokesman for the OCME said disputes between the plaintiffs should be settled by a court under state public health laws. “In accordance with the law, the OCME continues to hold the remains of the deceased while the court decides the matter.”
Additional reporting by Larry Celona